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22 October 2020
Leading mesh surgeon to give evidence to MSPs

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Leading mesh surgeon to give evidence to MSPs

A top surgeon who specialises in the removal of transvaginal mesh implants is to give evidence to MSPs today, via video link from the United States.

Dr Dionysios Veronikis will appear before the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee from the US state of Missouri.

He had previously been expected to come to Scotland to operate on women adversely affected by mesh implants and to train other surgeons, but the project came to a halt after a breakdown in relations with the Scottish Government.

Around 600 women in Scotland suffer painful side effects from vaginal meshes, which were used to treat pelvic prolapse, often following childbirth.

The committee is considering a long-running petition lodged by women who have received the treatment who are calling for the use of such meshes to be ended.

Veronikis had offered to come to Scotland to personally carry out surgery on dozens of women and to train Scottish surgeons in the full removal of the implants.

But after over a year of uncertainty, Veronikis said he had “permanently withdrawn” his offer, claiming the Scottish Government had left him feeling that his “goodwill has been abused”.

He had previously withdrawn his offer but agreed to change his mind after being given “assurances by the First Minister of Scotland” that he would be able to come.

But, in September Veronikis wrote to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, saying that he felt “exasperated” by the Scottish Government’s handling of the affair.

He wrote: “Regretfully, promises made to me by the appointed officials were not delivered.

"This was the reason why I withdrew my offer for a second and final time.

"All past co-operation has collapsed. It is over. My goodwill is exasperated.

"I am certain that my 200-plus hours invested in these negotiations would have been better spent operating on 20 mesh-injured women."

Veronikis is expected to share his professional experience of working with women suffering from mesh implants as well as discuss in more detail what lead to the breakdown in cooperation between himself and the Scottish Government.

The session will take place at 13:30 on Thurday 22 October.

Committee Convener, Johann Lamont MSP, said: “The petitioners have great faith in the techniques being pioneered by Dr Veronikis and they believe that his work offers an important glimmer of hope for the women whose lives have been scarred by mesh operations’ impact.

“That hope has now been significantly dimmed as a result of the relationship between the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland and Dr Veronkis breaking down.

“We want to hear Dr Veronikis’ views and understand the issues from his perspective, as well as to find out what, if anything, our Committee can do to advocate on behalf of the women whose futures potentially hinge on this doctor.”  

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